Friday, July 3, 2009

Pedaling Tagaytay Hills

Being able to undertake the required training and preparations of a determined cyclist, we prepared to embark the limb wrecking cycling expedition to Tagaytay City. This is an uphill stretch to test the endurance of retired workers mostly senior citizens –that attaining good health should not be confined to visiting your doctor, good diet, and ballroom dancing. Road bike and uphill climb satisfy your health requirements and sense of fulfillment … and the breathtaking panorama.


We have been frequenting “Daanghari,” the cyclist haven. In one of the rest station, near the Las Pinas Police Precinct, I and a group of young and senior cyclists from Muntinlupa City, namely: Conrad, Caloy, Doming, Roland, and Vidal; decided to go farther to see more places, beautiful garden spot, and fascinating experiences along the road to Tagaytay City. We planned –together with our senior cyclists, such as Ka Ely, the 72-year old from Barangay Magsaysay, San Pedro, Laguna; Mario, the heart-by-passed man and the prime character mentioned in my previous article, “Mountain Biking,” and Edgar –the asthmatic, diabetic, cardio vascular problematic and who converted his room to a mini-clinic but seldom uses because he is now a healthy cyclist - to test our stamina in a long distance climb. We all agreed to meet at Springville Meadows (we chose the place to evade another eager cyclist whom we think may not be capable yet and a sure accountability) along “Daanghari” at 6:30 a.m.

I prepared my mountain bike which was converted to a road bike and all were set on the following day. I took some foods and mineral supplements, such as Centrum, to have enough energy and body strength. We waited half an hour at South Peak circle, San Pedro, together with Ka Ely and Mario then we proceeded to Daanghari when the time waiting limit expired. At Springville Meadows, the group of Conrad patiently waited after a call of assurance to my mobile phone that we are arriving.

We started at 7:30 a.m. We took the route to Molino, Bacoor, Cavite, and carefully turned left to Paliparan, Dasmarinas. Conrad has difficulty of crossing the street in view of his poor sense of sight, so we guided him through the traffic. We mingled with the jeepneys and other vehicles, then to Governor’s Drive at General Mariano Alvarez (GMA). Before we turned to Aguinaldo Highway, Mario took the wrong side of the street and when he avoided other overtaking vehicles, he fell on the street shoulder. We momentarily stopped and assisted him after we were informed by tricycle driver on the road that one of our companion slid on the way. Conrad was the first one on hand and helped Mario on his feet. No damage on his bicycle but we noticed a swelling on his leg. He limped a little but said he was okay –he later confided that he lost pedal control and it strikes his right leg.

We turned left to Aguinaldo Highway and there, we started the long uphill climb. Ka Ely took the lead while Capitan Vidal, the able cyclist and the most senior at 73, stayed on the tail to make sure no one is left behind.
We enjoyed the aura and the flowering garden plants along the Silang, Cavite, highway portion. The roadsides were pleasure on the eye. It remarkably contributed to ease the burden of the climb.
But later, it was getting tough … and harder. We were struggling on an uphill ascent while the heat of the sun was visibly dancing up and down on the concrete pavement. We waited for the others and cooled ourselves by water in our provided container, took refreshments while taking rest.

So many stops before we sighted the McDonald and Jolibee tower streamer –the signs which we perceived we were nearing the top of the slope, that is Tagaytay City. We were so delighted! We felt we were almost on the top of the world! But it was 5 kilometers more to the city proper and it means we have two more stops as Ka Ely told us there are still two stiffer climb.
On the last leg climb, we stopped with Caloy to wait for others who were negotiating a snail-paced climb. But Doming, who was Conrad’s confidante, passed first and appeared unexhausted, continued kicking while reciting the verse from the Bible: “The Lord is within me. He keeps me going.” He was the first one to reach the top.

We waited at Tagaytay Circle to discuss where we should have our lunch; it was already 12:00 noon. We decided to go to Mahogany Market where noted “Bulalo” (hard boiled beef limbs) and beef delicacies are the common subject of Tagaytay travelers. But we ended at a food kiosk under the shade of a giant “Dapdap” tree, of course with “Adobo” and “Pochero.” We were informed that foods at Mahogany were now expensive. An order of “Bulalo” now cost P300.00 as more and more tourists are frequenting the place. After devouring the big lunch, we were served aromatic coffee. Ah! A hot coffee with the cool breezes of Tagaytay mountainsides!

We rested for a while. Conrad took the video-cam and had each member a say of the exhilarating experience. Caloy’s generated some laughter as he said: “We have so many stops. We spent more time resting before we reach the top.” …And then we got ready for the down flow.

We spotted the beautiful site where we have a group pictures with our bike. The background was the exciting scenery and a breathtaking view of Taal Lake Volcano! ‘Hope Conrad will furnish us the photo as he has said he will send us in our e-mail. We began to move on a free wheeling downward slope. As soon as we turned left to Aguinaldo Highway, we descended like a bullet train with unbroken distance and constant speed with each other. We took carefully of the humps, road hole, scattered fragments of stones and loose sands to avoid sliding on sharp curves and other unforeseen obstructions. In a minute, we were kilometers away! We turned right near Riviera Golf junction at Silang, Cavite –a shortcut to Carmona. We crossed a bridge where on the other end was an abrupt climb. We stopped a while upon reaching the top and watched Conrad dragging his bike –we forgot to bring some rope to tow somebody as in this case.

In Carmona, we arrived in just 45 minutes where we took four hour going up to Tagaytay City. But we have proved to ourselves we can and we’re not over yet! We have developed a new-found strength and sense achievement. The trust in ones inner self…yes, we can! We are now the triumphant cyclists.

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